Young people will continue to be protected against infection and disease as school-age immunisation resumes for year-eight and year-nine students in the South West.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools were closed and eligible secondary students were unable to receive their routine vaccinations of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Td/IPV (tetanus, diphtheria and polio) and MenACWY (Meningococal groups A, C, W and Y disease). These are normally administered at the students’ schools during term time but due to COVID there has been a backlog of school vaccinations.
These immunisations are commissioned and led by NHS England and NHS Improvement to reduce the toll from serious and sometimes-fatal disease.
The programme is now starting up again, with the NHS in the South West being the first in the country to recommence the schedule. Parents are being invited to bring their child to school or community venues where nurses will administer the relevant vaccine.
Kernow Health CIC is one of the first providers to begin the immunisation schedule, having started their programme last week.
Maria Harvey, Head of Primary Care Operations at Kernow Health CIC, said: “Our clinics have been running for the past 2 weeks and We’re calling all parents on an individual basis and reassuring them and their children about any concerns raised. Two of Cornwall’s secondary schools and many of Cornwall’s rugby clubs and football clubs have provided their venues free of charge for us to run our clinics, along with a number of village and community halls. We are extremely grateful to all. We couldn’t have arranged the vaccination clinics without this support. So far, the programme has been really successful with a great turnout and most sessions have been fully booked.
Other providers in the South West are expected to resume the immunisation schedule over the coming weeks with parents being contacted by providers to bring their children in for vaccination.
Dr Michael Marsh, Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South West, said: “The sorts of illnesses we’re talking about here can be very serious, so we’re very pleased to be able to offer immunisations again. Even better are the early signs that parents and children are keen to get protected, even where they can’t yet get to school.
“I’d urge all parents and young people who get an invitation to take up the offer. It’s quick and easy and will give lasting protection.”
Plans have been developed to use the end of the summer term and the summer breaks to catch up on the backlog from the 2019/20 school year, and any outstanding backlog will be caught up in the 2020/21 school year.